The Amiga Demo Scene is the Inspiration for Many New ChromaCam Features

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The late ’80s was a revolutionary period for home computing. Home computers such as the Commodore Amiga had dedicated graphics and sound IC computing structures that significantly boosted what could be done using this new multimedia tool. 

Of course, this provided an amazing opportunity to create more than just games. Though games were the driver of much of the consumer sales of these computers, something else was also happening. Something called the Demo Scene began to develop throughout Europe and soon spread worldwide. These were young, often teenage computer programmers who began creating their own graphics and sound software, simply for the purpose of showing off what could be done with this amazing new hardware.

What these programmers accomplished in creating their demos was a step beyond graphically and musically what was being done at the time in the commercial games available for these systems. These early coders created and manipulated 3D models, color, and light shows on screen that was rendered rather than just cell animation. They were demonstrating the true power of these systems through real-time rendered music videos. They would push the boundaries of the capabilities of the new computer. Members of the Demo Scene would hold huge all-nighter coding competitions to see who could create the most impressive demos using their coding skills to wow the judges and fellow competitors.

Where did these demo-making teenage coders go when this demo programming renaissance ended? Did their skills and passion fade like 80’s bellbottom jeans when the Commodore Amiga computer production ended?

Well, I was there and was an Amos Basic demo programmer.  My programmer buddy and I had a short-lived programming group called TFL(The Firm Ltd.) Our final demo was a graphical fighter jet demo advertising my BBS (Bulletin Board System), Glaives Cave. It was a great time to hone my programming and graphic art skills.

Today I am the Product Manager for Chromacam and feel just like a kid again. Managing the development of Chromacam is using the same skill set and imagination I developed all those years ago making demos. We are leading the way in advancing the how webcams are used for business and play. We are blending work and play to allow creativity to be injected into a hybrid work environment. You are the demo maker. Put yourself in the demo. Become a creator of new worlds and shape the way you present yourself in video calls and live streams. With HD custom special effects and face tracking avatars, thirty years of computer graphics animation media has led us to realization of the Metaverse. 

The demo makers are still around. We are just busy creating new ways for you to discover the power of your computer. Join us!

For more on this topic, here are some interesting historical artifacts from the demo scene.

Jeremiah Barkman
Product Manager for Personify Chromacam